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Belfast Zoo introduces new giraffe calf 'Ronan' to the public


Giraffe calf Ballyronan

Giraffe calf Ballyronan

Giraffe calf Ballyronan

Belfast Zoo has welcomed a baby giraffe - a boy named Ballyronan, or Ronan for short - to their herd of endangered Rothschild's giraffes.

It comes as the zoo reopened its doors to the public after being closed temporarily during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new giraffe calf was born on May 31 and is only now getting the opportunity to be introduced to the public.

The name was picked as part of a tradition at the zoo that sees any new giraffe calves named after towns and villages starting with Bally.

Standing at 5 foot 2, Ronan is not the tallest calf ever born at the zoo, but staff say he makes up for what he lacks in height with his personality.

Senior keeper Peter Cross said Ronan is in fact one of the shortest giraffe calves born at the zoo but said he is otherwise "full of beans".

"He loves adventure and spends most of his day following his big brother George, exploring the paddock and generally getting up to mischief together."

Zoo curator Raymond Robinson said: "Both mother and calf are doing exceptionally well. Giraffes give birth standing up and the front feet are delivered first, followed by the head, neck and shoulders.

"The calf falls more than five feet to the ground which doesn’t hurt but does cause the calf to take its first big breath. Calves are five to six feet in height at birth, learn to stand within 30 minutes and can run just 10 hours after birth."

The birth came at an exciting time across the zoo following other recent new arrivals, including a Southern pudu and a pair of Scottish wildcat kittens.

"It is fantastic to be able to welcome visitors again and for everyone to enjoy our residents both new and old," said Mr Robinson.

The zoo reopened on July 5 with extra health and safety measures in place, including a one-way walking route, hand sanitiser stations and extra signage.

Belfast Telegraph